Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Searching For Dozen Reasons To Lure Amazon To Fort Worth

A few days ago Amazon let the world know they are thinking about building a second company headquarters. HQ2, at some location other than Seattle.

Having recently eye witnessed Seattle in Amazon boomtown mode I can see why Amazon would think it a good idea to open a second headquarters. I don't know how much more booming Seattle can take before bursting, traffic and otherwise.

And then we have sleepy Fort Worth, a town which does nothing fast. A town which has been boondoggling along year after year with an ineptly engineered public works project the public has never approved, known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or America's Biggest Boondoggle.

A few days after the Amazon announcement I was amused by a typical Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda article about the subject, a screen cap of that article's headline is what you see above, "Amazon headquarters in North Texas? Let us count the ways".

 The first paragraph...

It is easy to rattle off a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live — world class museums, the Trinity River trails, the world’s largest honky tonk, Joe T. Garcia’s — to name just a few.

Really? It is easy to rattle off a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live? And these four examples of the alleged dozen reasons are your examples?

World class museums?

What town wearing its non-provincial big city pants refers to anything in its town as "world class"? World class? As opposed to what? National class? State class? County class? Yes, it is true, Fort Worth has a couple well regarded museums, brought to town early in the previous century after the wives of some local oil barons visited New York City, then returned to Cowtown pouting to their husbands that Fort Worth needed some museums if it was ever gonna be a town of culture. And so Amon Carter, and others, bought some artwork, built some museums in an area upwind from the rancid smelling Stockyards slaughter zone, and called this area the Cultural District, to differentiate it from the rest of the town which lacked culture.

The Trinity River trails?

Yes, in Fort Worth there are paved trails along many miles of the Trinity River. As the Trinity River flows alongside those trails, for the most part, it appears to be more of a big ditch than a river. And the water in that river ditch is murky, polluted, nasty. Not fit for fish, or fishing. This is not a river of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to seeing. Nor are the Trinity River trails of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to biking, blading and jogging on. Few trees, few if any, amenities. The Trinity Trails are no Burke-Gilman, in other words, words which those who work in the current Amazon headquarters will understand.

The world's largest honky tonk?

Does the Star-Telegram really think Billy Bob's is a big selling point making Fort Worth a great place to live? Or a reason a corporate headquarters might consider moving to Fort Worth?

Joe T. Garcia's?

Okay, one of the four reasons cited I agree with. I am not aware of there being any restaurant like Joe T. Garcia's being located anywhere near the current corporate headquarters of Amazon. Or anywhere in Washington. Joe T. Garcia's is one of the go to places I take any visitor who has never been to DFW or Texas before.

I can not help but wonder what the rest of the dozen reasons are which the Star-Telegram thinks make Fort Worth a great place to live.

One can not be the town's lifeless downtown with zero downtown department stores, with zero downtown vertical malls. How many vertical malls are in the downtown of Amazon's current corporate headquarters? How many department stores? And then there is that sprawling attraction known as Pike Place. Does Fort Worth have anything like Pike Place? Well, there was the Santa Fe Rail Market, but that only lasted a couple weeks.

Has Fort Worth fixed Heritage Park yet? After years of being a boarded up eyesore at the north end of the town's downtown, across the street from the country courthouse. A town which can not upkeep a park dedicated to its heritage really does not seem like much of a viable candidate to which a world class corporation would want to locate.

One of Amazon's new headquarters location criteria is easy access to outdoor recreation. Well, there are no real mountain trails in the DFW neighborhood. There are no ski resorts a short distance away. No cruise ships or ferry boats docking anywhere nearby.

Like to walk? Most Fort Worth streets have no sidewalks. Don't most world class cities with world class museums have world class sidewalks?

Fort Worth is particularly ill served by city parks. Most of which lack modern plumbing. And modern restrooms. Yet proudly sport an astonishing variety of outhouses. World class outhouses.

I recently spent time in Tacoma and Chandler, Arizona. Both towns, much smaller than Fort Worth, have multiple public pools. Pools with wave features and lazy rivers. Fort Worth has no such thing. But, the town does have happy hour inner tube floats, with music, in summer, in the polluted Trinity River.

Speaking of America's Biggest Boondoggle. Maybe if that ill fated much needed flood control economic development scheme had been actualized the way things get actualized in actual world class cities Fort Worth would currently be making use of its new fake waterfront, little lake, canals, whilst driving across its three little bridges connecting the town's mainland to an imaginary island.

And, if in 2017, the Trinity River Vision were something someone, like Amazon, or anyone, could actually see, maybe Amazon might consider making its $5 billion investment on that imaginary island.

Wouldn't that be something...

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